A bug in the Android version of Google News caused the app to eat up gigabytes of data in the background, eventually leading to huge bills for customers whose plans were exceeded.
The issue happened on Android 8.0 and 9.0 and impacted various phones regardless of brand. Samsung Galaxy S8, Google Pixel, and others have all been hit.
Fix already on the way
Even worse is that in some cases, the Google News app for Android ignored the setting to download data on Wi-Fi and used the cellular plan to refresh in the background. This caused gigabytes of data to be used in background, as some users revealed.
“It had just been on the default settings (Samsung Galaxy Note 8) that it set to when it updated around August 27. It had been using a "normal" amount of data, charged every 3 hours until Fri-Sat Sept. 14-15,” one user explains.
“The only reason I knew something was weird was because I received 33 text messages around 9am on Sept 15 from AT&T letting me know that it was buying more data for me at $15/GB. I went through each individual app's data usage info until I found the Google News app was the culprit.”
Google says it has already started an investigation on the bug and is currently working on a fix, but no specifics have been provided as to when it could be released.
The workarounds right now are turning off background data for the Google News app or removing it completely from the phone. You can then reinstall Google News from the Google Play Store when a fix is ready.